“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
“He has told you, mortal one, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
In Psalm 51:1, David cried out to God to have mercy on Him, a sinner according to God’s steadfast love and abundant mercy. In Exodus 34:6–7, God promised to be “compassionate and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in faithfulness and truth; who keeps faithfulness for thousands, who forgives wrongdoing, violation of His Law, and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, inflicting the punishment of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” He is the same God today as He was yesterday.
I am an ordained minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I am also the grateful recipient of two doses of the Moderna vaccine. I chose to get vaccinated because I felt it was the right thing to do for myself, my family and the safety of others. I also wear a mask in public. I am thankful God gave the scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals the mind and wisdom to create the vaccine and the heart to put themselves before others during this turbulent time. God has also given everyone the free will to choose wisely.
Is it just or right for some to defy what is viable to many at the expense of others? Hospital beds are filled In some states, several governors are taking what I consider an unrighteous stance, putting people’s lives at risk, by issuing executive orders against mask mandates. When I observe what is taking place in Haiti after a 7.2 earthquake, and in Afghanistan after the government has been overthrown and many are uncertain what the future holds for them, wearing a mask or taking a vaccine that can prevent the spread of Covid seems small in comparison. God gave life to the human race and gives life to us as individuals. Acts 17:26 says, “God made from one source all nations [ethne, ethnic] of men.” Christianity is supposed to value life as God’s gift unborn and born. God gives humanity dignity by making us in His image. Every human being is infinitely valuable to God. How we behave towards one another matters not because of who we are but also because of the God who made us. Jesus demonstrated how much He thought individuals were worth by being willing to die for us. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Romans 5:7-9 states, “For one will hardly die for a righteous person; though perhaps for the good person someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.”
In 2020, Covid struck many countries bringing death throughout the land. In the U. S. alone there have been 36.7M cases, and 621K. 1 This is heartbreaking. Today, some Americans feel their constitutional rights or freedoms are being taken away because mask and/or vaccination mandates are being required for the safety of all due to the Delta variant. It’s hard to believe that people are fighting over a life or death situation that is affecting all Americans.
It’s time we pay more attention to what the Scriptures have to say regarding these last days before the second coming of Christ:
2 Timothy 3:1-5 says people will be unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, and haters of good. There no distinction between whether these people were non-Christians or professing Christians.
“But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, slanderers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, teacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness although they have denied its power; avoid such people as these.
I am writing this post during a time when America is experiencing a surge in the Delta variant in several states, and mask/vaccine mandates have created a greater divide as officials try to halt the continued spread of the virus. I’m writing this to my Christian brothers and sisters in the Lord who may be resistant to getting the vaccine or wearing a face mask.
I wanted to get some understanding why so many Evangelical Christians are encouraging the anti-vaccination movement? According to a post in the Wall Street Journal white evangelicals resist the Covid-19 vaccine most among religious groups.2 Religious studies professor Heidi Campbell, College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, says many evangelicals associate themselves with Republicanism and the idea of small government, and see COVID-19 health guidelines as an issue of their freedom of expression and freedom of religion3. She explained that, “There’s also a general kind of theological belief in the sovereignty of God, that He is the one who knows best. So if you get sick, it’s because you don’t have faith in God and that you’re not living a holy life, so God isn’t able to protect you.” In addition, Campbell also said the following, “And that’s one reason why the vaccine debate is not about personal health, but about freedom, since it questions their religious identity and their right to practice it in a certain way.”4 As someone who has written about God’s sovereignty and lived by faith for the past 27 years this is faulty thinking. God is indeed the sovereign ruler over all things. He is also holy, loving, kind, forgiving, righteous and just, gracious and merciful. Campbell goes on to say, “Digital culture has also played a key role in shaping evangelical beliefs about the COVID-19 vaccines by becoming a space where people can find like minds to affirm their beliefs and encourage one another to continue in a certain way of thinking.” According to Campbell, digital culture breaks down hierarchical barriers so people in government or health care don’t have as much control over the information.”5 Mia Mercer, author of the article wrote, “According to evangelical groups in other parts of the world, taking the vaccine is like saying ‘I don’t have faith and I’m not holy,’ and it’s challenging their faith in that way,”6 Keep in mind as Campbell indicated in the article, all evangelicals are not opposed to the vaccine. Holiness is living according to God’s standards of being right and just in our dealings with others. Philippians 2:2-8 says, “being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility consider one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death: death on a cross.”
As the Delta variant continues to spread across the U.S., it is reported that most of the hospitalizations and the overwhelming number of Covid-19 deaths come from unvaccinated individuals. My heart is not to judge the why, but to share what I sense is important and relevant as a Believer in Christ. We are not to get so caught up in the political and religious spirit, and the ongoing rhetoric dividing this nation that we lose sight of the bigger picture. God’s eternal purpose. God so loved the world that He gave because He wishes that none should perish without first having the opportunity to know Him (John 3:16). People are perishing daily whether it’s a result of natural causes, Covid-19, gun violence, opioid addiction, police brutality, or other circumstances.
The Church is called to be the salt and light of the earth (Matthew 5:13-16). Christ died to set us free from the law of sin and death. Peter urges the the church not to take that freedom as an occasion for the flesh. we are to live as free in Christ, but do not use our freedom as a cover-up as a pretext for evil.
Righteousness and justice are the very foundation of God’s throne (Psalm 89:14). Mishpat (righteousness) and tsedakah (tsedek) (justice) are two key terms relevant to the throne of God. “For the Lord is a God of justice” (Isa. 30:18). “The Lord is righteous, He love righteousness” (Ps. 11:7). And “God is a righteous judge.” (Jer. 12:1).
I am sorely grieved by the behavior of some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I know that God is near to us, He understands our suffering, and participates in it with us. Throughout this journey I have experience God’s hand of mercy in my circumstances. People are dying, including young children. I clearly know the pain of losing a child after the lost of my eldest son two years ago from opioid addiction. I see this from a different perspective and no way do I feel I have lost my freedom, nor lack faith in God’s healing power. After walking with the Lord for twenty-six years, I know that getting the vaccine is not evidence of a lack of faith, nor does it mean that “I’m not holy.’
If you are concerned about government overreach or the potential of your freedoms being taken away remember that Christ died so that you and others might live. If you are concerned about the effects of the vaccine, then wear a mask out of compassion for the common good of all.
I’m making this appeal to fellow Believers in Christ to “consider your ways.” Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13:2 , “If I have the gift of prophecy and know all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” If I don’t speak the truth in love as a Believer than who am I? My prayer is that if the Holy Spirit has given me the unction for this appeal it will touch the heart of everyone who reads this and professes to be “in Christ.” I ask not for myself, but for my unvaccinated grandson, and all the children headed back to school who don’t have access to the vaccine yet or choose not to be vaccinated. Please choose to wear a mask if you decide not to vaccinate. Consider their right to life and freedom to grow up in a just society.
God speaks in many different ways. His voice speaks through His Word. The Word of God is quick and powerful. Our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and what we have trained our ears to hear or not to hear. I also ask that you pray that God will move upon the hearts of our government leaders to unite in this fight against Covid-19 for the common good of all.
Satan is shrewd in his ability to appeal to the flesh. Scripture warns us in 1 Peter 5:8, to be sober-minded and watchful because Satan prowls around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour. Peter says that Satan wants to devour and destroy you, just like a roaring and hungry lion. What is he after our faith, our witness and testimony of Jesus Christ!
May God continue to bless you, your family and keep you safe as we stand together believing that the tender mercies of God will see us through this pandemic.
Minister Dr. Aleatha F. Green
- Google statstics, accessed online August 15, 2021
- Ian Lovett, White Evangelicals Resist Covid-19 Vaccine Most Among Religious Groups, Wall Street Journal,
- Mia Mercer, Why Evangelicals are Encouraging the Anti-Vaccination Movement, College of Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University, May 4, 2021